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This field of psychogenomics stems from behavioral genetics, which was founded by Sir Francis Galton in the late 1800’s. He was interested in understanding intelligence and whether genetics or environment influence had a greater effect on an individual’s intellectual development. Relying on twin studies he was able to determine that genetics had a greater effect on level of intelligence than upbringing (Simmons 2008). This data opened the door to studies investigating all things related to human psychology and behaviors. Often these topics are around parts of human behavior many had always considered under their control (intelligence, mating behavior, motivation) but have been to be shown to really be product of our genomes.
Genetics (je-NE-tiks) is the study of how traits are passed from parents to children. Behavior is a person's observable activity. The study of how genetics affects behavior is called behavioral genetics.
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Scope & Importance:
The primary goal of Psycho genomics is to establish causal relationships between genes and behavior. Initial approaches to these questions often use behaviour genetic methods such as the twin study or adoption design (in humans). In animal research selection experiments have often been employed. For example, laboratory house mice have been bred for open-field behaviour, thermoregulatory nesting and voluntary wheel-running behaviour. A range of methods in these designs are covered on those pages.
If functional brain systems or neurotransmitter systems have been mapped to a behavior, genes involved in these systems can be examined for alleles linked to the behaviour. For instance an abnormal gene coding for glutamate could be a candidate gene for schizophrenia.
The Human Genome Project has allowed scientists to understand the coding sequence of human DNA nucleotides. This made readily possible many hundreds of research studies which are much less hypothesis-driven. In these association studies, researchers test the relationship of behaviour to polymorphisms across the genome, sometimes in hypothesis-driven pathway analyses. Pathways for most common traits are believed to be complex and involve many small genetic effects.. Initial attempts to associate particular genes (or at least chromosomal positions) to behaviour often involve a search for Quantitative trait loci (QTL).
Established genetic markers (for instance the BRCA allele and breast cancer) can be used to genetically screen individuals to determine their likelihood of developing a behaviour.
1. Psycho Genomics Research Institute
2. Belgian Society of Human Genetics
3. British Society of Genetic Medicine
4. Bulgarian Society of Human Genetics
Genomic Companies :
2. Genetic Technologies Group
4. Ambry Genetics
5. Biospyder Technologies
6. Predictive biology
8. Cypher Genomics
9. Agena Bioscience
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This page was last updated on 15th Sep, 2015
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